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Take control of your Mac backups with TimeMachineEditor 3

27 January 2014, Nick Peers

TimeMachineEditor 3Any computer user with even a smidgeon of sense has some kind of backup plan in place, and for many Mac owners that backup plan will be Time Machine, Apple’s built-in tool for saving your data from harm. It’s incredibly easy to set up – choose a backup drive, flick a switch and you’re good to go – so what’s not to like?

That backup schedule for one. By default, Time Machine updates your backup every hour. That’s fine when you’ve just started out using it, but when low disk space warnings start popping up with regularity, what then? The solution lies with TimeMachineEditor 3.

Sure, once disk space starts running out, Time Machine will delete older parts of your backup to ensure you don’t actually run out of space on its watch, but those messages are annoying, and besides what if your drive is used for other storage too?

TimeMachineEditor 3

Set your own custom Time Machine schedule with TimeMachineEditor 3.

One way to slow down Time Machine’s relentless gobbling would be to adjust its schedule so it’s backing up less often. Sadly, Apple thought it fit not to include this functionality by default, but by some clever jiggery pokery, TimeMachineEditor puts you firmly in control of when your data gets backed up, and how often.

First things first: none of this jiggery pokery involves touching or amending any system files. Since version 3, TimeMachineEditor has adopted a different approach. You leave Time Machine switched off, then it utilises its own internal scheduling tool to flick the switch to on, let Time Machine start backing up, then flick the switch back to off so Time Machine plays to your tune, not Apple’s.

It’s incredibly small – just 471KB compressed – and simple to use. Fire it up and you’re given the option of simply extending the interval between backups from 1 hour to – well, however many hours you’d like it to wait.

But perhaps you have more sophisticated needs. Perhaps that hourly backup isn’t so bad at certain times of the week after all, but not on others. No problem, click the Interval drop-down menu and choose Calendar intervals. From here you can set up multiple schedules, each one hourly, daily, weekly or monthly.

Pick your interval type, set its parameters (such as what time of day to backup) and click Apply. Add additional schedules by clicking the + button and remove unwanted ones with the – button.

It’s all incredibly simple to use, but the end result is that Time Machine will back up when you want it to, going forward, giving you extra breathing space and ensuring your drive space isn’t filled up too quickly.

TimeMachineEditor 3.0.3 is available now as a freeware download for Macs running OS X 10.7 (Lion) or later, including the latest Mavericks release.

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